You can trace the origins of the slow cooker on paper back more than 80 years, but the truth is the inspiration for it came many years before that. In 1936, inventor Irving Naxon filed a patent for a device that was inspired by his grandmother’s cooking in Lithuania. After her local bakery’s hours were over, she’d slow-cook cholent (a traditional slow-cooked stew) by the residual heat of the hot oven overnight. By creating a self-heating cooking vessel that is housed inside a casing, Naxon was able to perfect the slow cooker for home chefs.
The slow cooker became the busy parent’s best friend. The ability to “set it and forget it” meant less time scrambling over the stove for dinner and more time with the family. Over the decades, the Crock-Pot became a must-have appliance for families. But for years, many thought that the slow cooker was only good for stews and soups. And while the appliance is incredibly useful for those hearty dishes, the slow cooker was meant for so much more.
Hundreds of cookbooks have cropped up for the slow cooker, and all of them have an angle — soups, stews, easy dinners. But to help you maximize the use of your slow cooker, we pulled together a collection of 101 incredible recipes that will take you from breakfast to lunch, dinner, and beyond. This collection will help you pull off a dinner party or an easy weeknight meal with just a few ingredients and a little time. Heck, it will even help with the drinks and treat your guests to tasty appetizers, too. Make your Tuesday night a little less insane with these 101 best slow cooker recipes.
A fluffy breakfast quiche doesn’t have to bake in the oven to perfection; your slow cooker can easily pull off this puffed savory pastry in a few hours!
Who knew you could make French toast in a slow cooker?! Well you can, and it’s absolutely delish! Top this slow cooker French toast with blueberry syrup for a truly fabulous way to start the day.
For years, I've prepared this filling egg casserole, which is delicious for brunch, in my slow cooker. It's an unusual recipe for this appliance but is welcomed wherever I serve it. Folks always go back for seconds.
With this recipe, you will have loads of roasted tomatoes left over. Enjoy them spooned over pasta or a grilled chicken breast. Or feel free to change up the filling entirely, since these eggs will taste delicious with a multitude of flavor combinations. Just be sure not to overfill the ramekins with ingredients, as you want a nice balance between the eggs and the filling.
Enjoy your dinner with this quiche featuring refrigerated pie crusts, ham, eggs, and cheese. It’s the perfect meal if you love French cuisine.
Cheesy, delicious, and totally worth the wait, this slow cooker meal will have you “mmm-ing” after each bite. Add in bits of bacon or any of your other favorite breakfast meats and your simple side can be transformed into a hearty regular dish.
Particularly useful when cooking for a crowd that may be arriving for a mid-morning brunch, this recipe is the perfect blend of classic morning fare and flavorful midday treat. The spices, cheeses, and even the vegetables are all easily customizable to your personal preferences.
How great would it be to wake up on a busy morning and have breakfast already cooked? You could slow down and eat at home or pack up a bowl of this multi-grain porridge to take to work with you. With a slow cooker, it can happen.
Stone-ground grits are ground in a stone mill and are much larger than quick-cooking grits. They also have an abundance of flavor compared to the faster-cooking versions. Most Southerners will put them on the stove and cook them for hours — sometimes even all day — while popping in and out of the kitchen to stir. Cooking them in the slow cooker requires no stirring at all. Let them cook all night and wake up to rich, creamy grits.
Using a slow cooker to make steel-cut oats means you can sleep in without having to worry about starting breakfast. Be sure to use steel-cut oats for this recipe, as regular oatmeal will not hold up to this length of cooking. If you like your oatmeal very creamy, you can cook it up to eight hours.
Most of us love to nosh no matter what diet we’re on, but light party snack options can be few and far between. On top of having fewer calories, apricot chicken lettuce wraps are made easy with the help of a slow cooker. Boom! A simple and refreshing appetizer.
Who doesn’t love a delicious Buffalo chicken dip at a party? It’s creamy, delicious, a little spicy, and extremely flavorful. But when it is loaded with a few different types of cheese, this dip can get pretty fattening, pretty quickly. We’ve lightened up this recipe for you so you can thoroughly enjoy this essential party food without the guilt.
As the weather cools down, there is nothing like coming home to a kitchen filled with the aroma of meat that has been slowly cooking all day. These carnitas make a kitchen smell amazing, and they are delicious and easy to make, too.
Blogger Heather Thoming has created a creamy, spicy queso dip, proving that the slow cooker is, in fact, good for everything.
Everyone loves spinach dip, and this version is as easy as it is delicious. Just mix the ingredients together in the slow cooker for a savory and creamy appetizer.
Two of the best comfort foods, together at last! Slow-cooked pork and potato skins make a perfect match.
You'll love this warmed-up, no-fuss version of your favorite Mexican dip.
Get together in the fast lane with a slow-cooked munchie. These shredded chicken nachos will change the way you look at your slow cooker.
Standard spinach artichoke dip gets a Mexican makeover with the addition of chopped green chiles and pepper jack cheese.
Tender, slow-cooked chicken, sweet teriyaki glaze, and a creamy macaroni salad. What's left to say? This recipe is a classic Hawaiian plate lunch packed into a slider. Easy-to-prepare and bite-sized, these sliders are perfect for game day spreads, whether you're having friends over or tailgating at the stadium.
Delicious, easy comfort food doesn’t get much better than this slow cooker beef and mushroom stew. You could take the time to brown the meat and sauté the mushrooms and onions, but the dish is just as flavorful and is much less fuss when you just throw it all in the Crock-Pot and come back later.
Feel free to add other herbs like rosemary or thyme to this comforting dish, and vegetables like chickpeas or beans, but this lamb stew is delicious as-is.
This recipe is a classic and straightforward version of the hearty dish, with additional flavoring from a hint of cumin and cinnamon. Traditional beef stews tend to include new potatoes, which this one does not. Instead, serve it over a bed of brown rice to add an extra nutty bite.
Because of all the extra veggies, the sauce is light but savory, with just enough cream (or coconut cream) to make it extra satisfying. You could serve these on their own, with rice, or over pasta, but I love to spoon these slow cooker meatballs over simple zucchini noodles, using up the abundance of summer squash and adding some extra lightness to this dish on a hot day.
This hearty minestrone stew calls for garden vegetable soup (such as Progresso Vegetable Classics), turkey Italian sausage, and gluten-free macaroni. It’s easy to customize with any vegetables, legumes or herbs you happen to have on hand.
You can throw these ingredients in the slow cooker in less than 20 minutes in the morning. The tempting aromas will waft through your home all day, and when you sit down to this melt-in-your mouth meal at dinner time, you’ll experience exotic comfort with every bite. What’s exotic comfort, you ask? Well, make the stew and find out.
‘Osso Buco’ Stew
Usually this dish is made with veal shanks; instead, this recipe uses cubed stewing meat, cooked for hours in wine, broth and vegetables. This version of the Milanese classic is just as hearty and delicious as the original.
This hearty casserole is a favorite in Ireland, where it was whipped up during the coldest of winters. As its name suggests, it was originally made with lamb or mutton, but these days you may be more familiar with it being made with beef. For a healthier version, try using ground chicken.
This borscht will bring a wonderful smell to your house as it slowly cooks. Sliced cabbage is stirred in toward the end of cooking and basil leaves are added for garnish. Serve it with your favorite bread or simply enjoy it by itself.
This is a super meaty beef stew that has more of a clear broth than the gravy-like Dinty Moore version. If you like the broth a bit thicker, toss the cubes of beef in flour before browning.
Braised short ribs are the ultimate comfort food, in my book. But, the classic boeuf bourguignon can be intimidating. The key to tender braised short ribs is to make them a day in advance, and cook them over very, very low heat, for a long time.
Relax. Let the ingredients do all the work in this warm, welcoming dish. The beer tenderizes the meat, the onion soup gives it sweetness and depth, and the chile sauce goes “Zing!”
With chili, the longer it cooks, the more the flavors marry together. I find this to be true with dishes that have a tomato base with many seasonings. That means you can throw it together after lunch, put it in the slow cooker, and it will be perfect come game time. Leftovers are even better the next day.
These meatballs are the perfect party food. Throw them in the slow cooker and they’re ready when you are. Make-ahead tips: Make the meatballs and brown them ahead of time. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Mix up the sauce ahead as well and store in refrigerator. A few hours before your shower or party, put the meatballs and sauce in the Crock-Pot.
If you’re OK with being tortured by these tantalizing smells all day, this recipe is always a winner. Zesty yet comforting, this slow cooker recipe will be an instant hit with your entire family.
Wait till you try this pot roast; it's easier and tastier than ever! Your whole family will love this simple slow cooker recipe. Plus, you even get a delicious side dish out of it and can use leftovers for hearty sandwiches. What’s not to love?
There is nothing more satisfying than a melt-in-your-mouth sandwich. This shredded beef French dip is savory and succulent after stewing in the slow cooker all day!
If you’re skeptical about cooking lasagna in a slow cooker, have no fear; it’s as easy as layering the ingredients and walking away. This recipe will have your lasagna pan gathering dust. Italian cuisine purists will be happy to find that traditional lasagna noodles bake up beautifully even without boiling them first, and this dish can provide you with more than one meal, as it makes for great leftovers.
Blogger Dorothy Kern of Crazy for Crust shares a winning recipe for hearty beef sandwiches. We promise that these sandwiches will totally satisfy.
This tasty beef was cooked up by recipe creator Julie Merriman after she received a slow cooker as a prize in a recipe contest. It’s delicious and sure to become a family favorite.
Any trip to Taiwan requires at least one bowl of traditional beef noodle soup; the stew, beef, and often handmade noodles are just a bit spicy, occasionally too salty, and always, always filling enough to fuel another three hours (minimum) wandering through night markets.
Potatoes and cheese? Yes, please! This six-ingredient slow cooker supper is unbelievably easy and amazingly delicious.
Want the flavors of a burger with the ease of the slow cooker? You got it! Plus, this easy, versatile soup takes just 20 minutes to prepare.
The slow cooker chicken pot pie soup is truly a comfort food soup. It's thick and creamy and tastes like chicken pot pie without the crust!
This enchilada soup packs a punch when zesty seasonings are added. A Mexican dinner that's ready for cooking in 10 minutes? Sign us up.
This healthy, flavorful soup is loaded with tons of fresh, nutritious ingredients like spinach, carrots, celery, and onion, and simmers in a slow cooker while you're away at work so it tastes like it cooked all day — because it did.
Need a hearty soup for Meatless Mondays? Throw this into your slow cooker before you leave for work in the morning. When you get home, the most amazing thyme- and sage-laced smells will be wafting through your house. All you’ll need to do is add the orzo, zucchini, and spinach to the pot and wait 30 minutes for a delicious, stick-to-your-ribs meal. You won’t even miss the meat.
This recipe is a go-to for spicy, scrumptious tortilla soup — though it’s better described as “sans tortilla soup,” since there are no tortillas in it. With spicy kicks of chili powder, green chiles, and enchilada sauce, with smoky cumin, slow-cooked chicken, and hearty diced tomatoes, the soup is complex and delicious!
This is the chicken soup of our collective childhood consciousness on steroids. Aside from the fact that it's perfumed with more than 40 cloves of garlic, pinches of saffron, cumin, cayenne, and paprika, it is topped with a poached egg, which, when pierced, leaks its golden yolk into the soup's depths. It's almost magical, and is will probably cure that cold of yours in no time at all.
When slow-cooked, these drumsticks are tender and incredibly flavorful. To get a crispy skin, however, brush the cooked drumsticks with a bit of the marinating liquid and throw them under the oven broiler to develop texture and a little charred flavor.
While not exactly soup, the hot, steaming broth, large cut of tender chicken, aromatic vegetables, and boiled chive dumplings served in a shallow bowl equal a warming, hearty meal.
This casserole may take some time to make, but it's definitely worth it. The chicken and beans are both soft and full of flavor.
This chicken taco recipe will soon be one of your favorite quick and easy dinners because of its effortless process with the Crock-Pot. It takes less than five minutes to put the ingredients in the pot, and six hours later you'll have a delicious shredded chicken taco.
The slow cooker is the perfect vessel for making chicken stock because it cooks low and slow, allowing the flavors to meld together gently. The stock doesn’t need to be tended to at all. You can usually buy chicken bones from your local butcher, but if you cannot find any, you can use chicken thighs and wings.
This soup is thick and creamy just like the filling of a chicken pot pie. Serve this soup with a side of biscuits to recreate all the flavors of the original.
Try this delicious slow cooker lemon chicken and rice soup that is loaded with flavor. It is the perfect dish to come home to after a long, cold day!
Shhhh, don’t tell… but the secret to this dish is to simply pile all the ingredients into your slow cooker and let it do all the work.
A roasted chicken is an instant Sunday dinner classic. But if you don’t want to spend your weekend slaving over a hot stove all day, pop this chicken recipe in the slow cooker for that perfect Sunday dinner taste.
This is the most deliciously tender chicken with an amazing sauce. Perfect if you're having company or if you want to make something special for dinner.
For a harvest meal that will welcome you home right, enjoy this amazing slow cooker recipe.
Broiling gives the ribs great smoky flavor and gives them a barbecued appearance. It's not necessary to broil this slow cooker recipe, but it is highly recommended to boost the flavor and texture.
Featured in the classic barbecue joint Brother Jimmy's cookbook, this is a classic Carolina-style pulled pork recipe, includes a dry rub made with granulated garlic, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, and basil. This recipe is traditionally smoked, but an oven will do the trick if you're looking to get it done indoors.
There’s nothing quite like throwing a few simple ingredients into a slow cooker and coming back at the end of the day to a hot and savory meal. This dish in particular combines the rich, flavorful meat with a bright and crunchy veggie slaw and a sexy silky homemade mayo that makes it a favorite any time of the year.
A ham in your slow cooker? Oh yes! This delicious recipe creates the perfect balance between sweet and salty, even for those who aren’t fans of salty ham. The cloves are the secret ingredient that gives this dish its pizzazz — they mingle pleasantly with the maple syrup to produce a warm, inviting flavor perfect for the harvest season.
Enjoy this slow-cooked pork roast made with Green Giant frozen honey glazed carrots; the savory and sweet dish makes for a hearty dinner.
A little prep makes for a delicious, hearty, slow-cooked comfort meal that will warm you up on a cold day. It’s great to serve over polenta, or try serving the shredded pork on hoagie buns or in a baked tortilla shell; it’s perfect for a game day party.
Pulled pork is a great paleo diet recipe, and this one is unique with Italian ingredients. Adding the hot sauce gives it a little extra kick.
Dinner is ready for cooking in 10 minutes! Enjoy these mouth-watering pork chops with mustard-thyme gravy slow-cooked to perfection.
Talk about an aromatic meal. One whiff of this and you’ll be instantly transported to your “happy place,” where comfort food reigns supreme. After all, there is nothing like a slow cooker to make you feel at home.
What could be easier than throwing some pork, spices, and an onion into a slow cooker? The smell will tantalize everyone in your household all day and you’ll probably have leftovers to use in other dishes during the workweek. This is also a low-maintenance dish perfect for serving at dinner parties.
Tenderloin cooks much faster in the slow cooker than other cuts of pork. It was done in about 3 1/2 hours on high heat. A thin sauce will work best; you want to keep the meat moist, but you don’t want to drown it.
This flavorful, easy-to-make slow-cooked pork is a great winter dish to savor all week long.
This store-bought staple is a totally unnecessary purchase. After all, it is so easy to make at home, and is guaranteed to be a lot healthier that way than anything you’ll find on the shelf. Plus, this slow cooker recipe is great for making in bulk and storing for a fresh, delicious side you can enjoy warm or cold.
My old-fashioned fruit salad is convenient to make in the slow cooker when your oven and stovetop are occupied with other dishes. It's delicious alongside roasted meats, or even served over pound cake for dessert.
Mac and cheese is the homiest, most delicious comfort food you can treat yourself to. Now imagine being able to come home to freshly baked, always-delicious mac and cheese that comes straight from a slow cooker. You’ll be in heaven, we promise!
Clean up your risotto by using brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate and whole grain that contains protein and nutrients like thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Try some truffle oil as a garnish to truly take this healthy dish over the top.
Scalloped potatoes are the perfect side dish to any fall meal. Warm, cheesy, and perfectly seasoned, these potatoes will be the talk of your dinner party!
When you can offer guests a home-cooked option instead of the store-bought version, it will always impress them. But homemade doesn’t have to mean harder than usual. This simple slow cooker tomato ketchup recipe is just as good (if not better) than the bottled stuff, and you’ll be able to say you made it!
Lentils are packed with protein, which is perfect for vegetarians in need of that essential nutrient. Plus, when lentils are slow-cooked for hours in flavorful spices like curry, they taste pretty darn good, too.
Marvelous and meatless, this chili is still hearty enough to warm the heart and belly of any chili lover. The chipotle chili powder gives this slow cooker recipe the kick it needs to make it an instant favorite for vegetarians with a penchant for spicy foods. We are positive you are going to love this homey and satisfying meal.
This recipe is naturally vegan, although it's better when topped with shredded cheese and sour cream! This slow cooker recipe can be adjusted to taste in terms of heat, so feel free to customize this super-versatile slow cooker recipe.
We honestly cannot stress enough how delicious this recipe is. Ooey, gooey and warm, this delicious slow cooker dessert hits the spot when your sweet tooth is aching. We love the blend of cinnamon and oats that creates a crispy, flavorful crumble.
The flavors of caramel, rum and walnut naturally complement fresh bananas in this classic dessert made easy!
This seems like an unlikely thing to cook in a slow cooker, but it works great (a 6-quart unit is ideal) and your guests will gobble it up. If you like a little bit of spice, add a pinch of cayenne. It will balance the rich chocolate perfectly.
Everyone who tries this dessert falls in love with it. Using a slow cooker liner makes cleanup a breeze.
Fact: Anything with Nutella is awesome. Need I say more? This cake is decadent, delicious, and perfect with vanilla ice cream. Or better yet, with coconut ice cream. That would be awesome. Five stars — double it, if you're having company.
Peanut butter and chocolate is a match made in heaven. When these two ingredients are combined in the slow cooker, they melt to form the perfect base for creamy and luscious fudge that’s super-simple to make.
Cheesecake from a slow cooker? It's true! A few experiments turned this iconic dessert into a slow cooker classic! Give it a try. You'll be amazed at the results!
Cooking cheesecake in the slow cooker produces wonderful, creamy results.
We're not monkeying around — you actually make this monkey bread in your slow cooker!
Warning: Do not consume this drink if you are on a diet. This super-indulgent-but-totally-worth-it slow cooker cocktail is perfect for any and all holiday parties. If you’d rather have a more classic recipe, simply cut out the chocolate chips and enjoy a familiar favorite from your slow cooker.
Mulling spices and warmed wine will always have a place at a winter holiday table. You haven’t lived until you’ve warmed this beautiful blend of ingredients into a slow cooker to share with friends and family.
Hot toddies are the perfect antidote to a cold day, so nothing could be more welcoming than greeting guests with a slow cooker full of hot toddies for them to enjoy. This recipe will completely chase any and all cold weather blues away — partly because of the enticing aroma and partly because of the alcohol.
Picture this: You’re outside for a better part of the morning, raking leaves in the brisk fall air, and you’re finally on your last pile. You walk back into the house and it hits you: the crisp smell of apples, the homey aroma of cinnamon, and the tantalizing scent of allspice. This fantasy can become a reality if you make this slow cooker drink recipe before you head out.
This warm, comforting cider fills the entire house with a wonderful aroma. And guests are never disappointed when they start sipping!
Whether you are milling (and mulling) around a farmers market, or enjoying a quiet evening at home by the fire, mulled wine warms your soul in a way chilled wine just can’t. This recipe, which has a little kick of brandy in it, is perfect for a wine drinker who loves a little bit of sweet aroma and flavor in their wine bouquet. Just set the slow cooker up and enjoy!
After spending the day picking pumpkins or playing in the snow, don’t your kids deserve a drink that will warm their bodies as well as their souls? Enjoy this slow-cooked hot chocolate that’s made with peanut butter and topped with marshmallows for guaranteed smiles.
Who ever said that hot chocolate was just for the kids? This slow cooker spicy hot chocolate recipe will add a kick to your cold day that regular hot chocolate just can’t. You can adjust the heat to your liking, and if you want make it even more adult-friendly, a few shots of cinnamon schnapps will really heat things up.
Typically when we think of lemonade, we are transported to a wrap-around white porch, the beaming sun beating down on us on a lazy summer day. But that fresh, citrusy taste does not have to fade with the warm weather. Putting it in the slow cooker and adding a dash of seasonal spices makes this mulled drink a delicious warm cocktail for any fall or winter party. With all of these recipes being handled so deftly by your slow cooker, it's time to start thinking about other easy and delicious recipes that will save you even more time. Why not get started with 101 of our best casserole recipes?
More From The Daily Meal: